What happens in these deals is a matter of perspective. To industry advocates, the transactions get money to people who need it now. They keep desperate families off the streets, pay medical bills, put kids through school [...] But to critics, Access Funding is part of an industry that profits off the poor and disabled. And Baltimore has become a prime target. [more inside]
The Governor of Maryland has declared a state of emergency due to the situation in Baltimore. For several days protesters have been highlighting the cause of Gray, an African-American who died after being taken into police custody for making eye contact with an officer, then attempting to run away. Gray's spine was nearly severed at the time of his death, possibly having to do with his seatbelt not being fastened in the police van. [more inside]
If you’ve driven Ritchie Highway where Baltimore spills into Anne Arundel County, or vice versa, you’ve probably seen her shaking her money maker and stopping traffic. Britney Girl Dale, the alter ego of Dale Crites, has become something of a celebrity here in Baltimore and she now has herself a short documentary, courtesy of filmmaker Dan Bell. The film, now showing on YouTube and embedded below, shows Britney Girl Dale and her pal Anthony doing what they do best within their South Baltimore and Anne Arundel County stomping grounds. Britney Girl Dale’s mission is to entertain the masses- whether they want to be entertained or not. Already semi-famous, Britney has appeared on 98 Rock and has already broken YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook, in that order, but this film gives us a glimpse into her daily existence. Filmmaker Dan Bell shows us why Dale transforms himself into Britney, and Bell’s film shows the love, the hate, and the drama that revolves around the daily grind of being Ritchie Highway’s biggest star. The short is absolutely hilarious at times (especially when Anthony chimes in), but it’s not all beeps and hollas out there on the streets. There are also several sobering and sad moments that paint a complex picture of two of Baltimore’s most unique characters. (NSFW)
David Simon runs into Governor Martin O'Malley on the Acela. O'Malley, current governor of Maryland and former mayor of Baltimore, was one of the inspirations for Tommy Carcetti, the ambitious Baltimore politician in Simon's series The Wire. O'Malley hates this connection, and has let Simon know. Still, both Simon and O'Malley were able to put aside differences and share a beer and a photo. [more inside]
The hottest poker room in the US is at Maryland Live, a casino just Southwest of Baltimore. The reason is that the poker rooms are well stocked with fish, amateurs that regularly lose large sums at poker, but keep coming back to lose again. The sharks are enjoying the feast.
Fort Carroll is an abandoned Army fort on an artificial island in Baltimore's harbor. Robert E. Lee designed its hexagonal structure and supervised its construction, which the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers commenced in 1848. The fort was declared defunct in 1921, having never seen combat. Sitting in the middle of the Patapsco River, it can be seen clearly from the Key Bridge (named after a witness to an event at Baltimore's more famous fort), but rarely is it seen up close. Certainly, it helps if you have a boat. [more inside]
"Baltimore had always been seen as an explosive city, hypersensitive to the shifting currents of politics. The present crisis was no exception. While most Baltimoreans felt that Lincoln should keep his hands off the South, there was also a smaller contingent of Confederate zealots there who were more than willing to go to war over it. Sending Northern troops through their hometown was like putting a lit match to a powder keg."The Baltimore Riot of 1861, also known as the Pratt Street Riots, underline Maryland's complex and often tragic part in the US Civil War. [more inside]
"A Maryland boat was sent to the bottom by the Virginian navy, and a long contest was the result..." Hostility between Maryland and Virginia began the moment Maryland was created in 1632. Virginia objected to the Catholic nature of the new colony, as well as the unusual border which gave Lord Baltimore's colony ownership of all the Potomac River. Disputed maritime borders lead to conflict over the prized oyster, and naval confrontation on the Chesapeake became common. Maryland eventually created an Oyster Navy, which was charged with bringing order to the Bay and enforcing harvesting laws against the oyster pirates. The "Oyster Wars" were frequently violent. [more inside]
War veteran barred from college campus for frank words on killing. After publishing essay on addiction to war, Charles Whittington must obtain psychological evaluation before returning to classes
Every year since 1949, an unidentified man has visited the grave of Edgar Allan Poe on the 19th of January (Poe's birthday) and presented cognac and three red roses in the writer's honor. This year, for no known reason, the "Poe Toaster" did not make an appearance. One possible explanation for his absence has already emerged. (Previously and previouslier.) [more inside]
3 young Baltimore figurative painters Lillian Bayley (toyworld alienation) Rachel Bone (a saner, calmer Darger) Alyssa Dennis (bleak figures in a bleak world) [via New American Paintings]
Public gatherings restricted? Check. Shutdown of independent businesses? Check. Lockdown on traffic and transportation in the area? You bet. Lawmakers in Baltimore trying to curb the city's homicide rate (already 108 this year) have come up with some "desperate measures" of questionable constitutional legality, including heightening police presence in order to lockdown streets in "emergency areas." It has been called, "partial martial law" by some, and one has to wonder if the city of Baltimore may not do better to take a page from The Wire's Hamsterdam for a solution to their inextricably linked drug and homicide issues.
Half-Life meets Matisse in a virtual reconstruction of the apartment of Etta and Claribel Cone. During the first three decades of the twentieth century, the sisters amassed one of America's foremost collections of modern art. Today, many of the pieces can be viewed in the Cone Collection at the Baltimore Museum of Art. As part of the 50th anniversary celebration of the museum's acquisition of the collection, the Imaging Research Center at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County designed a digital walkthrough of their apartment so that visitors could see the art in its original context.
The Baltimore Sun has a series of articles that explore the possible failure of Columbia, MD to live up to expectations after 30 years.